How To Respond To Your Inner Needs

Life is busy.  If we life in this world, it’s a well-known fact that the pace of life is skyrocketing to astronomical heights.  We have so many choices:  to work or not to work; to join this club or that club or maybe all the clubs; to have children or not to have children; to work and have children; the choice of profession.  This is also true for our children.  Because both parents work, it’s sometimes necessary to find activities for the kiddies during the summer, or to have someone else take care of them when you are held up at work.  The list goes on. It’s sometimes hard when the kiddies don’t get enough down time.  They get stressed too when every moment of the day is structured with school and activities.

A friend of mine, who recently set off on a camping adventure with her son, feels that in order to make the time spent with him worthwhile, she should write about it.  I responded with, “It’s OK just to enjoy this trip with your son, you know.”  She agreed.  Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to always be productive.  Sometimes we just need to slow down.  That’s easier said than done I know.  As adults we have so many responsibilities, and each one seems important to us as well as to others.  But the reality is that from time to time everything else can wait.

It’s hard to disappoint a friend or colleague who needs our help, but if we’re are not feeling our best, the help we give may be charged with resentment.  And resentment has a way of raising its ugly head in ways that could hurt a friend.  It could be angry words behind their back, or just a sense of your friend receiving your negative vibes because, you too may be the needing support right now.  It really is OK to say, “I’d love to help, but the truth is, I’m swamped right now.”  Or, “I wish I could, but I need to take care of myself right now.”  Or you can simply say no without any explanation.  You’re an adult.  You don’t have to account for every action.

When we set boundaries, we are putting a wall of protection around ourselves that limits what we are willing to give at any one time.  Perhaps you’re involved in a committee, or other type of group that you really enjoy.  You joined because you enjoy certain aspects of it, but not all.  You are quite within your rights to say, “I’d like to work on this, but not that project.”  It could be that there are certain things you hope to learn in a particular group, but you’re not ready to take on everything.  There’s nothing wrong with setting realistic boundaries and certainly no need to feel guilty about it.

No matter how busy we are, sometimes we just need to put everything aside and rest.  This could mean an afternoon nap, or as Julia Cameron calls it, an Artist Date.  That’s where you take an entire afternoon to do something you love.  Maybe you’d like to spend the time sitting on the deck reading a good book.  Perhaps you’d like to go shopping with your friends.  Or simply have a quiet afternoon.  There are times when it feels like work and responsibilities never end.  You need a break or you’ll keel over.  If this is the case, then you must take that time.  If you do, you’ll feel so much more rejuvenated and ready get back in the game.

Life is full of stress, bad news days, sick relatives, and awesome responsibilities.  If we are to continue to cope with these daily dramas, we need to reassess what’s important.  Do you just need a break?  If that’s the case, perhaps all you need to rest or take an Artist Date.  But if you need to make some serious changes in your life, perhaps you need to put the break on and say, “No.” Maybe your solution lies somewhere in between.  You want to continue on with the life you’ve built, but you need to set some boundaries around that life to make it more balanced.  Whatever your need, there is a way to fill that need.  All you have to do is to pay attention and then figure out how best to respond.  It really is OK to say no, rest, and set boundaries in order to live a fuller richer life.

Categories: Women's Lives

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